William Sloane Coffin

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William Sloane Coffin (June 1, 1924April 12, 2006) was an American Christian clergyman and long-time peace activist. He was ordained in the Presbyterian church and later received ministerial standing in the United Church of Christ.


  • "God is love," as Scripture says, and that means the revelation is in the relationship. "God is love" means God is known devotionally, not dogmatically. "God is love" does not clear up old mysteries; it discloses new mystery. "God is love" is not a truth we can master; it is only one to which we can surrender. Faith is being grasped by the power of love.
    • Sermon "Emmanuel" (9 December 1979), as published in The Collected Sermons of William Sloane Coffin: The Riverside Years, Volume 1 (2008), p. 265

Credo (2004)[edit]

  • Of God's love we can say two things: it is poured out universally for everyone from the Pope to the loneliest wino on the planet; and secondly, God's love doesn't seek value, it creates value. It is not because we have value that we are loved, but because we are loved that we have value. Our value is a gift, not an achievement.
    • p. 6
  • I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap and then you grow wings.
    • p. 7
  • It is often said that the Church is a crutch. Of course it's a crutch. What makes you think you don't limp?
    • p. 137

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